4 years, 5 months, and 11 days. Keep your eyes on the prize. Stay focused on your path to success.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I sit here and wonder where you are, what you are doing, whether you are having a good or bad day.  It’s hard.  I wish it weren’t so.  But, in life, we play the cards we are dealt.  Control is only an illusion.  As the saying goes, “Man plans.  God laughs.”

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Plan anyway.  Plan for your future.  Work hard to achieve it.  Success is 95 percent sweat.  You must work hard to prepare yourself and be ready whenever opportunities for success present themselves.

Focus on schooling and on getting into the best colleges you can.  Better colleges create better first opportunities for you.  In other words, you can still be successful if you do not attend a top-ranked college, but your road to success would be made more difficult.  Others are more likely to invest in your future if the likes of Harvard, Stanford, Duke, etc., have already vetted you and found you desirable.  Success breeds success, my sons.

Look at your cousins.  Which ones have a brighter future?  Those who studied hard and have achieved a good college education, or those without?  Your cousins on your mother’s side are roofers, paintbrush makers, fast food workers, etc., while your cousins on my side are engineers, designers, executives, etc.  Success rarely comes by accident.

Aim for success.  Keep your eyes on that prize, and work towards it.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

4 years, 3 months, and 4 days. Remember to breathe deeply, and recipes for simple meals.

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For generations, mothers have encouraged children to take long, slow breaths to fight anxiety. A long tradition of meditation likewise uses controlled breathing to induce tranquillity.

Now scientists at Stanford University may have uncovered for the first time why taking deep breaths can be so calming.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/well/move/what-chill-mice-can-teach-us-about-keeping-calm.html?_r=0

My dearest and most beloved Shosh and Jaialai:

Breathe, my sons.  When anxious or stressed, just take deep breaths and breathe your way to calmness and peace.

I know must be very hard for you without me there.  Shosh, I remember that one time after your mom and I had separated, I came to your school concert, and, afterwards, you just came up to me, leaned your head against my shoulder and cried for the longest time.  I worry for you because you wear your heart on your sleeve and you are my sensitive boy.  Jaialai, I equally worry about you because you are introverted and hold everything in.  As your child therapist said, you worry about whether you’ll get your needs met.  I worry because if only your mom had attended more of the debriefings following your weekly therapy (which I paid for out of pocket), she would have better understood your needs.  As it was, she attended only one debriefing during your year and a half in therapy.  I took you boys to therapy every week, even on weeks when you stayed with your mom.

God, I miss you guys!  It is a physical pain, not just an emotional state of grief.  Know that no matter what happens, I will always love you.  Also, remember, it’s what people do that counts, not what they say.  Actions speak louder than words.

I also worry about what and how you’re eating.  Back then, despite working 90-100 hours per week in a high paying and stressful job, it was your maternal grandmother and I who did most of the cooking everyday.  Now that your maternal grandmother had passed away and I am not there, who cooks for you?  What do you eat?

Shosh, you are older.  I suspect the burden falls to you now.  I’m sorry.  Learn to prepare easy but healthy meals.  Don’t over-indulge in the spicy Korean noodles, which I know you love, Shosh.  Remember, Jaialai said you once ate so much at your mom’s that it made you throw up?

Try not to eat out too often.  In the divorce filings, your mother’s financial records showed that she spent almost $1000 per month eating out everyday.  I hope that is not happening.  Restaurant food tend to be tasty but less healthy for your because they have greater salt content, etc.

Yesterday, I made the Caveman version my favorite snacks, deviled eggs.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/classic-deviled-eggs-recipe/.  Instead of going through the trouble of mixing all the ingredients into the yolk, I simply cut the hard-boiled eggs (which I’d cooked over the weekend and kept chilled in the fridge) in half and putting each of the ingredients directly onto the yolk.  While it wasn’t as pretty as the normal deviled eggs, it was tasty nevertheless.

Another simple dish I often resort to is baked chicken.  It’s easy. Do the following:

  1. Get drum stick, chicken thigh, or other parts
  2. Put the chicken in a plastic bag and put in a tablespoon of salt, a little black pepper, a little minced garlic or garlic powder, a tablespoon of olive oil, and enough balsamic vinegar to coat all the chicken pieces.  If you want more depth of flavor, you can also add a spoonful of Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or longer if possible.
  4. Preheat the oven to 390 degree Fahrenheit, line the metal tray with tin foil, then bake the chicken for about 25 minutes on the middle rack.
  5. Eat it with rice or bread and a side of salad.  It’s a very tasty, healthy and simple meal.

I also make lots of sandwiches and pasta.  Remember how I used to heat up a Italian seasoning and fresh garlic in a little butter and olive oil, then mix in pasta and sprinkle it with a little bit of Parmesan cheese before serving it to you guys?  That’s a simple dish.  You can always throw in a little basil, tomato and/or bell pepper to add more depth and dimensions.  For sandwiches or wraps, the easiest thing you can do is get a Costco roasted chicken, tear off chunks of meat and put it into a sandwich or flour tortilla, then throw in some lettuce and ranch dressing and call it good.  It is simple, healthy and delicious, remember?

Cooking doesn’t have to be hard.  Just be creative, and be caring.  Meal time was always a special time for us, remember?  We used to cook together, then everyone would sit down at the dinner table to enjoy our meal and each other’s company, remember?

Cooking is more pleasant as a group activity.  Cook with Eli.  Use the internet to find easy, 3-4 ingredient recipes.

Eat well, and breathe, my sons.

All my love, always.

Dad

4 years and 25 days. Self-regulation is critical to success.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Your mom’s side of the family has been imploding.  The uncle who cannot drive because his driver’s license was repeatedly revoked for drug abuse is dead.  The aunt from Virginia has left her husband (an alcoholic).  The super “religious” wife of your former Marine uncle divorced him and married another guy within the same year.  Most of your adult male cousins on that side are unemployed or underemployed and have bastard children out of wedlock with unsuccessful mates who are willing to put up with such losers.  The artsy pretender who always preached to others about how to raise children the appropriate Vietnamese way has a bastard child with a Japanese name, and he is now a house husband while his Chinese wife works to support the family.  Wow.  What winners.

On the other hand, your aunts, uncles, and cousins on my side of the family have degrees in biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, medicine, architecture, education, etc.  They are artistic and post on social media photos of their drawings and passions instead of meaningless drivel.

Why the difference?  The parents on both side are respectable people.  What caused the divergence in the paths of their off-springs?

One word: self-regulation.  Your mother’s side was not taught to self-regulate.  Your maternal grandfather, for example, prided himself on having never raised his voice to his children.  Your maternal grandmother did likewise.  And, what resulted?  Lazy and self-centered children (and grandchildren) who lack discipline and fortitude.  They do what feels good at the moment.  Thus, one boy is a felon with drug conviction, and most of the others stay home while their poor girlfriends work.  On the other hand, on my side, your aunts and uncles hold master’s degrees and doctorates, are professors and teachers, hold management positions in Fortune 500 companies, etc.  Your cousins on my side are likewise en route to success.

We know how to self-regulate and are self-disciplined.  On the other hand,, they needed to be regulated by their parents when their parents were still alive.  Now that your grandparents have passed away, their family is imploding.

Which path do you choose to follow?

All my love, always,

Dad